'This is the new normal for us right now': Abbotsford residents prepare for more flooding Sunday
They’ve barely had time to catch their breath since flooding devastated Abbotsford’s Sumas Prairie. Now, they’re bracing for the potential of more floodwaters.
“Disaster zone. This is the new normal for us right now,” said dairy farmer Karl Meier.
Meier was one of the farmers picking up sandbags Saturday in the hopes of better protecting his property and animals.
He’s also been lining up transportation so that he can evacuate his livestock if he needs to.
Abbotsford’s Darien Paul says residents are now “back in protection mode, where they’re going to protect their homes.”
He’s been organizing volunteers to fill sandbags since flooding began.
“We’ve reached over 200,000 bags,” he said, adding they expected to fill tens of thousands more Saturday.
Some of those sandbags went to the Huntingdon area, which borders Sumas Prairie.
Officials fear this area could see flooding Sunday if the Nooksack River in Washington State again spills its banks. Residents are on evacuation alert, but Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun has warned them to be ready to leave at a moment’s notice.
“Residents still need to be prepared to leave immediately as we may only receive limited notice due to changing conditions,” he said.
Trying to protect Huntingdon Village are about 180 soldiers, who spent the day building a sandbag wall next to a railway track.
“What we’re doing today is creating a 500-metre-long sandbag wall, roughly one metre high,” said Maj. Varun Vahal, the officer commanding Vanguard Company soldiers.
“There’s a potential water might go a foot above this rail line that I’m standing on right now, which would then go into this community,” he explained. “The idea is to divert this water away from the village.”
He expected they would need about 35,000 sandbags to complete the task.
Volunteers have been working alongside farmers since the flooding began. On Saturday, members of Abbotsford’s rugby club were cleaning out barns and debris from properties.
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